The farm community has experienced a variety of external stressors this year. From wildfires and drought to the financial and relational tolls of a pandemic, the impact on mental health has been felt widely. Most sectors of agriculture have been affected by the added stress, but farmers aren’t the only ones who are dealing with the repercussions.
Who’s Impacted: The farm life is exhausting despite external factors. According to Deborah Reed of the University of Kentucky, farmers have a high rate of suicide even when times are good. And the stress extends beyond the farmers — farm families as a whole are feeling the weight of 2020. Family members including children are at increased risk of mental health struggles.
What to Do: It’s crucial that farmers and their families make time to care for themselves first. The American Soybean Association (ASA) and the United Soybean Board (USB) have initiated #SoyHelp, a campaign designed to provide resources for those experiencing farm stress. The goal is to provide modes of conversation and connection in times of potential mental health struggle, specifically in the agriculture community.
Continuing to open up about mental health will be an avenue for growth and better overall health within the agriculture community.